The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Skinny Lister is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 23, at Valley Bar.
David Edwards
Skinny Lister is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 23, at Valley Bar.
The final weekend in February is going to be a busy one, at least when it comes to concerts.

A wide variety of live music will be happening across the Valley the next few days and nights, including outdoor community events like the Fox & Peacock Music Festival in Tempe on Saturday and high-profile gigs like 80/20 Records' 10th anniversary party at Last Exit Live later that night.

Plus, there are all the noteworthy shows in the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. It includes performances by legends like Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil and Steve Hackett of Genesis fame, as well as concerts featuring Good Old War, Black Violin, Skinny Lister, and She Wants Revenge.

Oh, and the pool party season is kicking off. (Yes, you read that right.)

For even more live music happening in the Valley this weekend, check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar.

click to enlarge Kev Marcus and Wil B of Black Violin. - COLIN BRENNAN
Kev Marcus and Wil B of Black Violin.
Colin Brennan
Black Violin
Friday, February 23
Chandler Center for the Arts

Male, classically trained string specialists (you know, guys on violins) are hard to find these days. But the innovative duo Black Violin has managed to flourish in their unique roles as genre-bending bards, even in a region not known for its commitment to orchestral endeavors.

Kev Marcus and Wil B — of the violin and viola, respectively — got their start doing hip-hop covers, but after winning at the Apollo in Harlem, in front of a notoriously demanding crowd, they knew they were developing a winning formula. Their mix of hip-hop and classical caught the ear of Alicia Keys, who invited them to play alongside her at the Billboard Awards.

Marcus and B have also collaborated with Wu-Tang and Linkin Park, all while touring about 200 cities a year. Black Violin even had the honor of playing for the first family at President Obama's second inauguration in 2013. In 2015, the duo released Stereotypes, which explores the limits of their musical tools and promoted social consciousness, ‘cause music is so much better when it has a soul. Style and substance: always a winning combination. Liz Tracy

click to enlarge Dan Schwartz (left) and Keith Goodwin of Good Old War. - SHANE TIMM
Dan Schwartz (left) and Keith Goodwin of Good Old War.
Shane Timm
Good Old War
Friday, February 23
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

Good Old War blend spot-on harmony with melodies that rattle around in your head for days. The Philly-based trio's ear worm "Amazing Eyes" set them on a path of indie folk success in 2012, and earlier this month they released their highly anticipated EP Part of You, which includes the band's latest single, "Never Gonna See Me Cry." Critics say it's an album that shows major progression in songwriting. Justin Nozuka and River Matthews open. Diamond Victoria

click to enlarge The musicians of Skinny Lister. - DAVID EDWARDS
The musicians of Skinny Lister.
David Edwards
Skinny Lister
Friday, February 23
Valley Bar

At first glance, the name Skinny Lister may evoke the image of an underweight nerd who's been taunted by his classmates. In reality though, it's one of those clever band names that leaves a somewhat amorphous impression.

In truth, the Lister family were actually innovators in the field of anesthetics, but according to singer/ukulele player Lorna Thomas, their Skinny Lister was a boy that guitarist Dan Hepinstall went to school with. "We have no idea if he is still skinny, but we will hopefully get a chance to reunite with him one day in the future," Thomas muses. "Hopefully he doesn't mind us nicking his nickname!"

If by some chance he happened to hear Forge and Flagon, the debut album from his namesake combo, he'd probably be flattered. A stirring combination of edge, angst, and insurgent attitude, all instilled with a genuine folk flourish, the album provides an ideal snapshot for the band, as do follow-ups efforts like 2014's Down on Deptford Broadway and 2016's The Devil, The Heart, and the Fight. Lee Zimmerman

click to enlarge Fairy Bones want to share their music with everyone. - RAYSQUARED - RAY² PRODUCTIONS
Fairy Bones want to share their music with everyone.
RaySquared - Ray² Productions
Fairy Bones (Album Release Party)
Friday, February 23
Crescent Ballroom

Fairy Bones’ forthcoming sophomore album, 0% Fun, is a clear departure from what they’ve released in the past. The band ditched the synthesizers that helped define their 2015 record, Dramabot, in favor of more guitar. The new songs have a brash, lo-fi flavor drenched in sarcasm, unlike the more bombastic and theatrical tracks of Fairy Bones’ past.

“If you didn’t like our last record, you’ll probably like this one,” frontwoman Chelsey Louise says. “It’s very, very different, so don’t judge us on the first one. We’re not the same band. Give us a second chance.”

The lead single, “No One Can Suffer Like I Can,” encapsulates this sonic change, as well as the themes of depression and social commentary that fill 0% Fun. Louise is candid about the mental health issues that inspired those kinds of lyrics.

“I had a breakdown on stage,” she says about one episode. “I just had to leave the stage, and it was one of the most horrible experiences of my life. I still think about it and how bad I felt at that moment. It was very, very terrifying.”

Fairy Bones debuts 0% Fun on February 23 with a release show at Crescent Ballroom. Louise is nervous about performing, though she’s relieved to have a few shows already under her belt since the night she had to leave the stage. Mostly, she and her bandmates are equally excited to share their new music with everyone. Meagan Mastriani
Hard rocker Vince Neil serves up a solo show this weekend in Tempe. - COURTESY OF BTE
Hard rocker Vince Neil serves up a solo show this weekend in Tempe.
Courtesy of BTE
Vince Neil
Friday, February 23
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Truth be told, Vince Neil can be a nice guy. Make no mistake – he's still the badass, hard-partying wild man who fronted Mötley Crüe for over 30 years, married his fourth wife in a ceremony officiated by rapper MC Hammer, and revealed shocking tales of sex and drugs in a New York Times best-selling tell-all book. But he’s also gracious, and above all, he is a serious musician.

Selling upward of 80 million albums, Neil and the Crüe dominated '80s metal with hits like "Shout at the Devil," "Home Sweet Home," and the unofficial anthem of strip clubs everywhere, "Girls, Girls, Girls."

Although Mötley Crüe played its final concert together on New Year's Eve in 2015, Neil has no plans to quit touring and is scheduled to tear up the Marquee Theatre in Tempe this weekend. "We play all the great Mötley stuff," he says. "I'm proud to be that guy carrying on the torch. It's a great, energetic, fun show with good, raw energy. We pull out some fun surprises, too." Wendy Rhodes

click to enlarge Black Label Society are coming to Marquee Theatre on February 24. - JUSTIN REICH
Black Label Society are coming to Marquee Theatre on February 24.
Justin Reich
Black Label Society and Corrosion of Conformity
Saturday, February 24
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Zakk Wylde is best known for delivering bluesy, hard-rock guitar squeals as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, not to mention co-writing a few different albums with the seemingly immortal metal legend. It’s not Wylde’s only claim to fame, as he’s also had a steady career with his own band, Black Label Society.

Wylde is fronting the four-piece as it tours off its Grimmest Hits collection, which debuted last month to big-time sales. Meanwhile, opening act Corrosion of Conformity is about to release a new LP with returning frontman Pepper Keenan, and after years away, it’s good to have him back in the band. Eric Grubbs